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WGU Graduate Speaker, Christopher Woods

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Christopher Woods
Western Governors University
<p>WGU Commencement in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 3, 2019. Christopher Woods earned his Master of Science, Management and Leadership degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Scott D. Pulsipher: And now, we have the privilege of hearing from two of our graduates. And Christopher Woods, Master of Science, Management and Leadership, from Indianapolis, Indiana. [Applause]</p> <p>Christopher Woods: Don't let what you're going through stop you from getting to where you're going to. WGU graduates, friends, family, faculty, and staff, we made it. I don't know what ya'll had to endure to ensure your success, but I am sure that we all share similarities in our journeys. Tina [Tapey?]wherever you are, thank you. Your Tuesday morning motivational calls will be missed.</p> <p>To get here today, I have endured the distractions of daily living, death, and personal destruction. I probably only sleep about four hours a night. All I know is work. If a man does not work, he shall not eat. For me, work isn't necessarily a job either. I take pride in working hard, smart, and consistent in every aspect of my life. I am a son, a husband, a father of three boys, a brother, an uncle to two girls whom I love like daughters. Not to mention I am a mentor to many, a self published author, a physical therapist assistant, a writing coach, and a team builder. And now I can add to my resume, a Master of Management and Leadership. [Applause]</p> <p>But this degree didn't come easy. During this journey I lost my job, I lost my house, my brother died, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. I've had hospital stays and many ER visits with my children. It's been quite a ride. But just like Peter when he was trying to walk on water, I couldn't allow the storm that was going on around me to distract me from my goals. I guess when I reflect on this journey, I was merely trying to be an example to my kids that my parents were to me.</p> <p>The most important lesson that my father taught me when I was growing up was about self accountability. When I was probably about nine years old, it was a cold, snowy Saturday morning in near December, and I could remember running home from bitty basketball just crying, just in a furious rage. And I knew my father, I knew he would be home Saturday morning to comfort me and help rebuild my ego just because things didn't go well.</p> <p>And after running about two blocks home, I finally made it. And I slammed the door as hard as I could. And I began to pace back and forth and cry and make gestures. But my dad, he still didn't show his face. So for added affect, I slammed the door again. [Chuckles] This time I got my father's attention. "Son! What's wrong?" My dad yelled out to me. And I shouted back, "I ain't never going back. My teammates don't pass me the ball, my coach don't like me, and he barely puts me in the game."</p> <p>At this time my father's face, it went from a look of concern to one of confusion, and disbelief. As his facial expressions changed, so did mine. He then covered his face, he began pointing at me, and laughing. He was saying, "He's crying about basketball. He's crying about basketball." Now at this point I'm completely thrown off. Here I was, I was expecting my father to comfort me, and tell me how I was best, and my coach was stupid, you know? But not my father. Not Noble Woods.</p> <p>What happened next changed my life forever. My father yelled with everything in his body, "Take off your coat. Now pull your pants legs up." And now I'm thinking, I'm like, am I about to get a whooping for this? [Chuckles] But instead, you know, my father began to look me up and down. Up and down, he just started yelling, "Let me see your elbows. Let me see your knees. I don't see any scrapes. Where are the bruises? How many loose balls did you dive for? How many rebounds did you go after? How many steals did you get?"</p> <p>At this point, it got real. I guess realer than it already was, but... [chuckles]. My father got down on one knee, and he grabbed me by my collar, and he got forehead to forehead. And he told me, with everything in his might, "as long as you live, don't you ever tear, cry, or complain about what somebody didn't do for you. If you want something bad enough, you got to work as hard as you can, and go get it yourself." [Applause]</p> <p>And as he stood up, still gripping my collar, he looked at me in my eyes and he said, "If I was your coach, I wouldn't play you either." [Chuckles] And pushed me out of the way. About three years after that, on Thanksgiving Day, my father died. And I watched my mother become a real life superhero. I began to learn another valuable lesson in life, and that was work ethic. She was up every morning at 4:30 cleaning the house before going to work, two, sometimes three jobs. And then she'd come home and still cook a meal for us.</p> <p>Because of the words that my father told me, and the examples that my mother showed me, I know no other way. Work hard. Work smart. Work consistent. Today, all of us in this room are living proof of the lessons that my parents taught me. When you set a goal, and have the dedication, determination, and discipline to achieve, you will succeed. Obstacles cannot stop you, problems cannot stop you. Most of all, other people cannot stop you. The only one who can stop you is you. You have the power to be as great as you want to be. Believe in yourself and remember, success is waiting on you. WGU, let's go! [Cheers and applause]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2019 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)